I was thinking back to when I started working at Hewlett Packard in 2002. Hewlett Packard had just purchased Compaq, and there were over 300 Territory Account Managers covering the Western Region of the United States. It was my first job out of college and I really enjoyed working for Hewlett-Packard and the people in my organization.
We were selling everything from ink jet cartridges to (back then) MSA (Modular Storage Array)
1000s. The statics then stated, the average deal size to close over the phone was $2,000.00. We had a quota of anywhere from $300K to $3 million per quarter. With a that large of a sales quota and an average sale of $2,000.00 you would need to close anywhere from 8 to 75 deals a day to make your goal; not an impossible task but it was highly improbable.
We learned very quickly that we needed much larger deals to make our quota every quarter. We started closing several $50,000.00 to $300,000.00 deals per quarter and every once in a while we would even close a $500,000.00 to $1,000,000.00 deal.
We closed these deals over the phone with very little, most of the time zero, field support. We had our technical experts across the room and we could schedule time with them to speak with the customer, configure quotes, answer questions, or design solutions that would fit any prospects needs.
I ask myself sometimes, “How did we do that?” and then the answer reappears just like it has every time the question comes up - we did it by listening, answering a lot of questions, and by building relationships. We listened to the customer’s challenges, knew their IT environments, asked open ended questions, designed solutions that made sense, offered testimonials and built personal relationships over the phone. I personally challenged myself to have every customer that I reached out to know that I had their best interest in mind. A large majority of the customers that I spoke with knew who I was by the sound of my voice and most of whom I still talk to today, even though I no longer sell hardware.
Yes, telesales is progressively harder today than in the past but basic principles of success are still present today: 1) Knowing your customer and their business, building a personal relationship, and having the customer’s best interest in mind at all times.
Today’s customer has also become more accustomed to working with vendors remotely. Through tools such as WebEx, Gotomeeting.com and other Video Conferencing tools, the activity of showing demos, solutions and value has become a lot easier. There are always complications, wild cards, and left turns; and, the sales-cycle is much more complex than when I started. Something to keep in mind - do not limit your telesales representative to a revenue ceiling on a sale. With the right tools and process in place, they might just surprise you.